NHL Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Lack Drama

Steve JankowskiAnalyst IMay 2, 2008

The first round of this year's NHL playoffs featured more than a handful of dramatic series, with three going the full seven games.

But the ensuing four conference semi-final series have been anything but dramatic.

Three of the four series have one team ahead 3-1 in the series.

And the fourth?  It's over.

The Detroit Red Wings whacked the injury-riddled Colorado Avalanche in four games.  The clinching game was as anti-climatic as they come, as Detroit won 8-2.

That game was so lopsided, it was over halfway though the second period.  Kudos to the Avalanche for playing hard in the third period, down seven goals, and later six.

As exciting as the first round was, the second round has been a dud.

The NHL, NBC and Versus cannot be happy about the short series being played.  People love tuning into sixth and seventh games, with all the drama those games have.  Not as many people will tune into a game four if one team is up 3-0.

The good news for the NHL is that there's still two rounds of the playoffs to go, including the Stanley Cup Finals.  Gary Bettman and the rest of the NHL honchos in New York, as well as the executives at Versus and NBC, are hoping the Conference Finals and Cup Finals are longer series to bring in more money and ratings. 

More importantly, long series late in the playoffs generate more buzz around the league, and the NHL is in dire need of that these days.

If they get the long series in the next two rounds they're looking for, more national media types will pay attention, and thus, more people will tune into the games.

Here's hoping for the NHL's sake that the next three series last a little longer than the four in the conference semifinal stage of this year's playoffs.